Tech Tuesday Preview—Canon's New Supertelephoto

May 21, 2013

By RF Staff

Canon's new behemoth 200-400mm, f/4L IS USM is more than it appears to be. It gets its super-powers from a built-in, optically matched 1.4x extender to increase its already impressive focal range to 280-560mm. There's no muss or fuss to activate the extender—just flip a switch on the lens body when the winning goal is happening at the other end of the court or football field.

But if the action's at your end of the field, no worries—this lens can focus as close as 6.6 feet (and if the play is any closer than that, you have bigger problems than not being able to focus). Dust and water resistant, the lens is great for sports photographers and outdoor adventurers.

At 5.0 x 14.4 inches, it's actually smaller than we anticipated given its supertelephoto reach, but it does weigh 127.7 ounces so you'll need tripod/monopod support and upper body strength to lug it around. The good news is that Canon offers a lens case/strap kit for $910 (a bargain considering the lens costs $11,800 and you'll want to protect your investment).

This lens didn't fit the specs for our portrait lens roundup in the upcoming July issue (we talk about many different portrait lens options), but if you shoot sports, check out the September issue of Rangefinder to see what's going on in the field—no pun intended.

More info on the lens.